How the Ladybug got its name . . .  by Bonnie T.  Barry

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How the Ladybug got its name . . . by 

I don’t know if this is factual, fictional, or a bit of each, but the most commonly circulated story about how the ladybug got its name is quite interesting. According to that account, quite a long time ago in Europe, a small farming village was experiencing unprecedented problems with insects that kept devouring the crops. Faced with certain ruin, the peasants fell to their knees and began to beg the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to send help in their calamity. Their simple faith was soon rewarded. The farmers began to notice a change in the crops. The dying foliage started to revitalize and greenness once again appeared on the landscape. Something was definitely reversing the devastation. As they looked closer, the farmers noticed small red bugs with black dots festooning their tiny concave, shell-like, bodies. Like soldiers called in to battle, they were eating the culprits—destructive aphids. “Our Lady’s bugs, Our Lady’s beetles,” the grateful villagers proclaimed. Eventually, as the small insects became a familiar part of their lives, the people shortened their name to ladybugs, the term by which they are still known today and perhaps one of the reasons why they are so well-loved. Whatever the case, ladybugs are the allies of farmers; they are tiny soldiers that patrol the fields making sure there will be food on the table for everyone.


  • jesika
    jesikaalmost 7 years ago

    I don’t know if this is true, but it’s a very pleasing story.
    Sadly, not ALL Ladybirds(bugs) are our friends.
    The Harlequin Ladybird was deliberately introduced into the USA about 20 years ago as a biological pesticide and now amounts to 20% of all Ladybirds.
    In Britain in just 3 years, it has been seen as far north as Scotland.
    It has a much longer season than native species, will happily eat native species and also the eggs of moths, butterflies and any other insects it can find.
    It is devious and sneaky and disguises itself to look like native species.
    Cambridge University is researching ways to reduce the impact of this invader.
    Yours is a wonderful story, Bonnie, mine less so. Hopefully, YOUR Ladybirds will prevail.

  • Thanks for that expanded view, Jesika. There’s always the other side of the coin, isn’t there?

    – Bonnie T. Barry

  • loramae
    loramaealmost 7 years ago

    Always the teacher…lol Interesting story! Beautiful Collab

  • Thanks, Lora Mae. This story has always fascinated me. I wrote it after reading an article years ago and coupled it with this photo I took of a ladybug on a clover blossom. The story may have elements of the legend in it, but there is a lovely seed of Divine Provision in it that is totally truthful!

    – Bonnie T. Barry

  • GailD
    GailDalmost 7 years ago

    Interesting story.
    Great pic of the Ladybeetle(bug). Good clear detail & colours.

  • Thank you, Gail, for taking the time to notice and comment. I really do appreciate your kind words.

    – Bonnie T. Barry

  • budrfli
    budrflialmost 7 years ago

    and one of my favorite creatures, guess we know why now :O) thank you for sharing as you do so well!

  • Ellen van Deelen
    Ellen van Deelenalmost 7 years ago

    This is really beautifully done! Also good photo of the ladybug which i like a lot! (Thanks for your friendly comment)

  • Debbie Sickler
    Debbie Sickleralmost 7 years ago

    Thanks for the interesting background story. I like how you’ve presented it with your photo. :)

  • Lensman2008
    Lensman2008over 6 years ago

    Whichever way you view it, a nice little story, however, I also echo jesika’s sentiments about the Harlequin Ladybird.

  • John Hooton
    John Hootonover 6 years ago

    Ladybug is an Americanisation of the European word Ladybird. Why lady ‘bird’ you may ask. Well, the origin of the name as related is true regarding ‘Our Lady’ but who usually ate the insects? Birds of course, and that is why the name Ladybird was adopted.

    The Harlequin is indeed a pest. To view several varieties of this very invasive species click here

  • Marriet
    Marrietover 3 years ago

    Sweet story.

    Did you know that GMO corn crops, now grown in the US, actually kill ladybugs? Check out this link

  • Maree  Clarkson
    Maree Clarksonover 3 years ago

    Beautiful story for a beautiful little bug Bonnie! Now, if farmers would just trust nature once more and give up insecticides, which kills many of these useful little bugs, the world would be all the better for it! Is the capture Yours? It’s great!

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